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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Aug 24, 2014

Van Gaal: Ashley Young did not dive

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno, Steve Nicol, and Gary Bailey debate whether or not United's Ashley Young or Robin van Persie should have been awarded a penalty kick against Sunderland.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal criticised referee Martin Atkinson for booking Ashley Young for simulation during the 1-1 draw at Sunderland but admitted the winger had exaggerated the contact.

- Macintosh: Di Maria not enough for United
- Okwonga: Subpar United flail at Sunderland

Van Gaal -- who refused to be drawn on Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria -- is still searching for his first Premier League win after Jack Rodwell's header cancelled out Juan Mata's opener on Sunday.

Both Robin van Persie and Ashley Young saw penalty appeals turned down in quick succession in the second half, and Young picked up a yellow card for simulation after going over Wes Brown's leg, but Van Gaal defended the player.

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He told Sky Sports: "He was free at the ball -- he lifted the ball across the player and the opponent is kicking him. After that he was jumping too much, but what counts is that he was kicked by the opponent and then the referee can give a penalty.

"He was tackled in my opinion, but after that he was exaggerating -- but it is not diving because he was touched by the opponent."

At his news conference, he added: "I have said that he has been touched by the opponent in the 16m area and when it is like that there are referees who are whistling because you cannot touch players in that area because it is a risk.

"The referee wasn't whistling and nor was he for the tackle on Van Persie. I have seen the images since and I saw that Van Persie was already falling a little bit, but nevertheless the opponent takes the risk and it was a tackle on his ankle.

"Normally it is a penalty. There are referees giving those penalties and those who don't."

Louis van Gaal is still awaiting his first win in the Premier League.

Van Gaal feels his side -- beaten 2-1 by Swansea at Old Trafford last weekend -- are still lacking the final pass needed to score.

"In the first half we played an equal match with Sunderland. We didn't create so much but scored a fantastic goal," he said.

"But then we've already warned our players they don't have to give a lot of set-pieces away, and we gave a lot of set-pieces away and they scored out of a set-piece, so that was disappointing.

"We played much better in the second half and could have created more but in the last third we lacked creative passes.

"Football is played for creating chances and making goals. We haven't created so many chances today. We probably had more ball possession and were more dominant than the last match but you have to win your game at that moment and we couldn't, so that's a pity."

Van Gaal accepted that his team would have to work hard to get their season on track after a disappointing start.

"You can never say how long it takes because when you win the next match, the confidence comes back, but we have to work a lot," he said.

"The players are very disappointed after the game because we thought we would win. But still we have one point and that is not good enough for Manchester United."

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